On a checkerboard, black squares alternate with white ones. As a verb, alternate means to do something in turns. As a noun, an alternate is a replacement.

  • Pronunciation: /ˈɑːl.tɚ.neɪt/
  • English description: do something in turns
  • Synonyms: replace
  • ORIGIN: While the noun and verb seem not to mean the same thing, think of it this way: If you are brought on in a game to be someone's alternate, you are there to take their turn. Alternate can also be used as an adjective, meaning different or other. An alternate view of history is one that looks at the past from an uncommon perspective. Pay attention to the pronunciation ofalternate: as a verb the end is pronounced "-nāt" and as a noun or adjective "-nət."


  • You could discuss alternate caring options with your mother.
  • He then alternated leading the race or ran among the top three cars for most of the remainder of the contest.

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